Warriors open with an upset


POSTED: Friday, January 09, 2009

The freshmen didn't play like freshmen.




Ohio State0

        NEXT UP
vs. Southern Cal today

The passing was much improved over last year's.

And the defense? It was better than it's been in a long while.

It all came together for No. 13 Hawaii last night in the second match of the Outrigger Hotels Invitational.

Sophomore hitter Joshua Walker had a match-high 17 kills and freshman hitter Steven Hunt debuted with a double-double (13 kills, 10 digs) as the Warriors upset No. 10 Ohio State 30-27 30-24, 31-29.

A Stan Sheriff Center crowd of 1,255 (2,490 tickets) saw Hawaii win its season opener for the first time since 2005 in sweeping the Buckeyes in an hour and 56 minutes.





        NEXT UP
at Boise St. tomorrow

The Warriors (1-0) take on No. 7 USC (0-1) at 7 tonight. The Trojans pushed defending NCAA champion Penn State to five before losing 27-30, 30-23, 30-19, 29-31, 15-12.

USC won UH's Fall Invitational last November and “;we're very familiar with each other,”; Hawaii coach Mike Wilton said. “;They have some weapons and we'll have to play a lot better.

“;There was some acclimatization going on out there for us, especially with our freshmen. Gus (freshman hitter Tuaniga) struggled but got it going and Steven (Hunt) was good all night. Game 1 was tough, but we started getting more efficient.”;

And more impressive on defense. The Warriors had 39 digs, including eight momentum-changing ones by junior libero Ric Cervantes and seven each by senior setter Sean Carney and Walker.

“;Everyone is trusting each other to make the plays,”; junior middle Steven Grgas said. I don't know how people are doing it, but it was great how the guys kept the ball playable.

“;For our first match, it was huge to win and for the freshmen to play the way they did. Everything jelled.”;

Grgas had six kills with no errors in 10 swings. Two of the kills came on step-out plays, rarely used in the men's game, but “;Hey, why not use it?”; the 6-foot-7 Grgas asked. “;It's a big swing and it opens up the whole court.”;

Ohio State got 10 kills from Robbie Klein, who hit .000. The Buckeyes outblocked the Warriors 18-11, with John Albertson in on nine, including two solo.


Penn State 3, USC 2

“;Obviously, we're disappointed because we felt we had our chances to win,”; said USC coach Bill Ferguson. “;But this is great experience for our young team.

“;We only had one more service error than (Penn State) did, but they finished with two-thirds of the aces.”;

Actually, the Nittany Lions had 80 percent of the aces, finishing with 12 to the Trojans' three.

Leading the way was senior middle Max Holt, who had a rally-scoring-era school-record seven. Junior hitter Will Price put down a match-high 22 kills.

Senior opposite Ryan Sweitzer added 18 kills as Penn State extended its winning streak to 13 dating back to last season. The Lions outblocked the Trojans 12.5-6, with junior middle Max Lipsitz, senior hitter Jay Stauffer and Holt in on five each.

For USC, sophomore hitter Murphy Troy had a team-high 20 kills, and sophomore middle Austin Zahn added 11 and junior middle Hunter Current 10. Sophomore setter Riley McKibbin (Punahou '07) finished with a match-high 50 assists.

Hawaii def. Ohio State

30-27, 30-24, 31-29
Buckeyes (0-1)



Warriors (1-0)



Key—s: sets played; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct: hitting percentage; d: digs; bs: block solo; ba: block assists; pts: points (kills + blocks + aces)

Aces—Ohio State (1): Sangrey. Hawaii (3): Hunt, Carney, Walker. Assists—Ohio State (39): Kehoe 33, Schoenfeldt 2, Berzins 2, Tobkin, Kues. Hawaii (41): Carney 38, Cervantes 2, Walker.

T—1:56. Officials—Dickson Chun, Dan Hironaka. A—1,255.